Performance management

How To Deal With Employees Who Flake Out On You

Hi, in this nugget, I feel inspired to talk about what you can do as the business owner or supervisor on how to deal with employees who often “flakes out” on you. When they work, they do a good job, but their reliability leaves much to be desired.

Here is a quick video (see the transcript below):


Hi, in this nugget, I feel inspired to talk about what you can do when something doesn’t go well with an employee, whether you are the boss, general manager, business owner, and you have an employee who doesn’t perform right.

It’s not so much when that person actually does the work but it is when they find excuses. They call in sick very often, and they come up with reasons for that. You want to be compassionate, but this person’s behavior is hurting your business. You promise a client or customer that this person will be there. And then, at the last minute, they flake out. 

Managers will often tolerate this behavior until it becomes utterly intolerable. The only recourse that seems to be at hand then is to fire that person. That is as if the police had only a gun as an option and nothing else. In other words, you do either nothing, or you shoot the person. When you think about that, it seems like a lack of tools

What Can We Do? 

  1. Get out of the realm of hearsay. 
  2. Start writing down how often these instances occur, even for your sanity. 

These steps will help you have a conversation and say: “Hey, you know, on Monday, this happened, on Wednesday that happened, and the following week on Tuesday this happened.”

Once you present all the facts, you can ask: 

  1. What do you have to say about that? 
  2. How do you think this impacts our business? 
  3. What is important to you?  
  4. Do you want to advance here? 
  5. What ambitions do you have? 

They need to make a connection between their behavior and their own goals. Are they going in a positive direction, or are they going in a negative direction?

When we don’t hold them accountable, why is that? Why are we not holding them accountable?

  • Is it fear, or
  • Is it that we don’t know how to address it, or
  • Maybe we didn’t track what actually really happened? 

What I’m talking about here are some excellent steps because you don’t want to be like the policeman who either does nothing or shoots the person because that’s all the tools you got.

I’m Curious

What are your experiences with “flaky” employees?